I’m going to start this off with a few things to take note of: First, off it might not always seem like it as you’re reading this but I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it. (In fact, I did recommend it to my podcast cohost who immediately purchased it). There are just a few stumbling points in it for me, by no means enough to ruin the book but enough for me to kinda be taken out of the book a little bit and into my head going…” well does that really work?”
The second thing I am late getting this book out because I found that reading while on painkillers due to surgery made words get really squiggly. So this book was a great escape when I was able to see well enough to follow along but it also may have led to me missing things here and there. So if that is the case PLEASE point it out to me before the next book comes out so I can stop going back and forth in my head about it.
This book was fun for me because it brought me back to some of my favorite kinda teen books that I loved. I was really into Cynthia Voigt’s kingdom books (if you’re on my twitter I mention them….a bit). I loved the idea of the main character that was underestimated, wasn’t perfectly suited for an adventure, and yet didn’t automatically morph into this hero after a brief training montage. The fact that our character stayed mute, stayed sort of reserved, and needing to be taken care of and yet gradually grows through the book is so refreshing and feels more real. She’s never left home, she’s never had any of those experiences and it’s genuine that it’s overwhelming for her and that she needs time to adjust.
One thing that bugged me was I never got a good grasp of her age. She’s the second oldest of six and yet she’s closest to her older brother. Her brother was allowed to leave town and can drink and is treated like an adult. We never get that with Sarene. I thought it was sort of a coming of age novel because she talks about being able to leave town if only she wasn’t mute and people kind of treated her like the real world wouldn’t accept her. But then later she’s still treated like a child when everyone gets wine but she gets apple juice so I’m lost going well is she much younger than I was thinking here? She’s been on this adventure and faced these dangers but she’s still too young for a glass of wine? Small detail but it still bugs me.
The other thing that bugged me was to have a character that was very one-track-minded. There’s a reason for it and I get it. But we constantly kept returning to that character to get an update and it was different space, same thoughts. Over and over. Oh, he’s closer now but still the same rant. I ended up just skimming those sections because I wanted to get back to the characters I was invested in.
Sarane, Kanderil, and Spasmodic are just a really fun really cool trio. I loved being on their adventure. Spasmodic might be one of my favorite characters ever and for some reason, I kept picturing him as some sort of demonic reggae muppet with like red dreadlocks, which just made him so much more fun for me. Kanderil is your basic strong silent type who has a back story I’m dying to know. It also works really well because he doesn’t talk much and he’s not bothered that Sarene doesn’t talk at all. Spasmodic talks enough for everyone.
Fun fact I’m a huge Supernatural fan, so having the big brother be Jared was just fun for me because I kept thinking of them going after awesome big brother Jared Padalecki the whole time.
I liked that we got gradually introduced to the world but not overwhelmed with it either. There are still many questions about how the world works and I think some of it the reader fills in basic sort of fantasy tropes of how these sorts of worlds are, and some will get added in as the series goes on.
The ending felt a little too easy for me. I wanted more from these Gods that had been built up to be all-powerful, and yes that’s why Sarene is such a big deal, but it still was like snap and it’s over. I wanted more of that drama and that scene. The good thing is that it is obviously going to come in later books so I’ll just look forward to that.
Pick it up knowing it’s a jumping-off point. More of a way for you to get to know this cast of characters and not a book filled with nonstop action or big battles. But for most of the characters, getting to know them is well worth the journey.